As Christians, the environment we live in is a battleground. We’re in a spiritual war with Satan, who attacks our minds. His strategy is to invade our mindset and attitudes and move them away from God’s way of thinking. One of the areas particularly vulnerable are our motives, which greatly influence our decisions; an awareness of how the enemy operates gives us protection against him.
Our motivations either make us defenseless targets open to spiritual attack or ground us in God’s Word. The devil has been defeated; his only hope now is to ambush us in our thinking. He therefore creates a smokescreen of lies and suggestions to contradict what God has said. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Satan’s motives were why he was cast out of heaven. He was once Lucifer, a beautiful angel, but chose to rise up against God in pride and arrogance. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15). The motives in our hearts eventually become thoughts and intents in our minds. They’re invisible to world, but extremely powerful.
The devil’s assaults are planned and deliberate. His intent is to affect our thinking by getting us to doubt the pure motives we learn through studying God’s Word. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Satan is sneaky and devious. His plan is to gradually introduce motivations contrary to the truth; however, knowing what he’s doing protects us from this.
Thankfully, we’ve been given the authority we need—not only in the physical realm but also in the spiritual realm where our thought lives are—to keep Satan from harming us. “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:18, 19). Ignorance of the power and authority we hold allows the devil to do his work undetected. He doesn’t want us to know the truth. When he knows we know it, he’s rendered completely powerless.
Our motives are what the enemy is after. Impure motives allow him to get a foothold in our lives and advance his agenda. Allowing God to show them to us and root them out keeps us from getting dragged down into evil. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). This keeps us safe.